FEMA rejects Cooper’s request for Individual Assistance

By on October 9, 2019

Debris outside of a home located along Highway 12 in Buxton on Sept. 23. (CriShaun Eugene Hardy)

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is expressing disappointment with FEMA’s decision to deny his request for federal assistance to individuals and households that suffered damage due to Hurricane Dorian. In conveying its decision, FEMA said that damage was not “of such severity and magnitude” to approve the funding.

“This is disappointing news for families who lost everything in Hurricane Dorian and still need help. The governor will continue to work with our federal and state partners and North Carolina’s congressional delegation to determine a path forward to deliver assistance to those who need it,” Cooper said in a statement posted on social media on Wednesday, Oct 9.

FEMA’s denial was outlined in an Oct. 8 letter to Cooper that came four days after the Trump Administration had approved North Carolina’s request for Public Assistance for 14 counties hit by Dorian. That assistance allows local governments to be federally reimbursed for the costs of debris removal, life-saving emergency protective measures and the repair, replacement or restoration of disaster-damaged publicly owned facilities.

While noting that the “damage to the infrastructure was significant in each of the areas designated for Public Assistance,” the Oct. 8 FEMA letter contended that “based on our review of all the information available…it has been determined that the impact to the individuals and households from this event is not of such severity and magnitude to warrant the designation of Individual Assistance…”

The letter, signed by Jeff Byard, FEMA’s Associate Administrator in the Office of Response and Recovery, indicated that North Carolina has 30 days to appeal the decision.



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  • Dan hudson

    Why don’t the state provide some help? Seems like local government always wants to pass the Buck. Thanks to all the charities and individuals locally that have stepped up to help.

    Wednesday, Oct 9 @ 2:01 pm
  • Sand Flea

    FEMA said that damage was not “of such severity and magnitude” to approve the funding.
    Tell that to the people down in Ocracoke and others who got hit hard. If you read the article, the governor (who is the leader of our state) is trying to do something. This is on the Trump administration. Hope all you Trump voters are happy. If Trump had a hotel or two here it would already be rebuilt here. And yes, thank you to all the local people who have stepped up to help.

    Thursday, Oct 10 @ 9:40 am
  • Miriam Samet

    Trump wants to force people out and then developers will snatch the land for a song. He is the swamp.

    Thursday, Oct 10 @ 10:47 pm
  • Darkseas

    This sounds like a heartless decision on FEMA’s part, but I’m not sure it is. Is FEMA saying that it won’t pay claims from homeowners who have flood insurance? That would surprise me. If someone doesn’t have flood insurance, should paying for their loss be the responsibility of local, state, or US taxpayers?

    This is a difficult question to answer, and a reason we should all be proud of efforts of people on the Outer Banks to help themselves and each other.

    If you read the comments readers put on articles about Dorian in the national media, there is a strong train of thought that if you choose to live on a barrier island, you should pay for your own losses. Of course those commenters want to vacation here, and are oblivious to storm water flooding in their own neighborhoods that they expect the feds to pay for.

    Wednesday, Oct 9 @ 6:34 pm
  • MMcC

    Without individual assistance, it’s clear how slow & difficult recovery of homes & livelihoods will be. Through tourism to the areas’ beautiful natural resources, these counties generate significant lodging, services, sales & income tax revenue for the state & federal government. You’d think someone would want to make sure those needing it, get individual assistance. I hope Cooper is penning an appeal.

    Wednesday, Oct 9 @ 8:22 pm
  • G Larry

    A reader here is correct: this is what you reap when you have a trumpublican-controlled state and federal legislature. Why? Simple. Elected GOPers have no conscience, no compassion, no courage and no common sense. Perhaps Mr. Byard was just POd about the news of September 19: “The White House will pull the nomination of Jeffery Byard to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency”. So he takes it out on Hyde County. T-rump has proven he cares about no one but himself. Just ask the people in Puerto Rico. It’s going to take an enlightened electorate to save this country from becoming a dictatorship. Do the homework — read outside the bubble.

    Thursday, Oct 10 @ 11:52 am